CEBU CITY, Philippines — Public service can be the most challenging job in a developing nation and the challenges grow even harder if a public servant belongs to one of the most discriminated sectors in society, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer and others (LGBTQ)
Yet for Poro town, Camotes Island, Cebu Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President and ex-officio Councilor Marven Gorgonio, the challenges are worth fighting through for the love of the public service.
Gorgonio is a native of Poro, Camotes Island, and won the 2019 elections as an SK Chairperson in one of the town’s barangays.
She also won the SK Federation elections shortly after rendering her a member of the town’s council and becoming one of the few openly LGBTQ public servants in Cebu.
Gorgonio was born biologically male and remained androgynous for most of her life although she has never felt any attraction to women.
Even as a young boy, she already knew that she was gay and her family has accepted that as early as her kindergarten years.
“I didn’t have my share of coming out stories as far as my memory can process as there was never a time I thought myself as a straight man and my family didn’t think of that either. Ever since my kindergarten days or even before that, my family saw me as gay and they embraced it like it’s normal and didn’t let me feel like there was a problem about it,” she told CDN Digital.
Eventually, the councilor would become more confident in herself and her Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). At age 25, she finally embraced her SOGI and began to express her true feminine self.
“I was androgynous not more than a year ago until I decided to shift to be more feminine on how I express my gender identity. LGBTQ+ has a lot of spectrum, I couldn’t really say I’m a transwoman now tho I crossdress, but let’s just say I’m on my way. For my sexual orientation, well, there was never a time I had an attraction to girls,” she said.
Gorgonio’s public service is holistic and she focuses on improving her town especially the youth’s engagement in making the town more vibrant and economically progressive.
Her path to public service was not easy as well as she said LGBTQ officials are generally frowned upon with people thinking of them as “huyang” or weak.
Yet, Gorgonio said that public service is seen in action and not in perception and she thinks she may have done enough to serve her town well.
One of her great achievements so far was passing the Anti Discriminatory Ordinance For The People Of Diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity And Expression, making the Municipality of Poro the town the outside Metro Cebu to do so.
The town passed the ordinance on Pride Month, June 2019, a big step for LGBTQ individuals in the town. The town hoped to encourage its LGBTQ members to bolder and love free from discrimination.
Passing the ordinance was just the first step for Gorgonio in encouraging more LGBTQ members to take on a more active role in the forefront of nation-building.
“I dream to see more LGBTQ+ participation in nation building and in governance. Not to be bias, LGBTQ+ are naturally creative, always thinking out of the box and hardworking. We need more minds like that in the government,” she said.
Gorgonio strives for a community where LGBTQ will no longer need to fear coming out as their true selves and to take on the challenges of serving the public without fear of being judged for who they are.
“In public service, the entire journey is never gonna be easy, from how you enter to how you do it when you get in. You will always be challenged and will always be subject for criticism especially because of our SOGI. But it’s not what it’s about. Public service is about our genuine heart to serve, help and empower the people,” she said.